What nobody heard Michael Moore say | SummitDaily.com

What nobody heard Michael Moore say

As a preacher, one gets used to not being taken seriously. After all, organized religion has fallen on some pretty hard times, and there are so many other things worthy of our seriousness.

For instance, not too many weeks ago, we all got seriously riled up over the Oscar acceptance speech of Michael Moore, the gifted and iconoclastic director of the movie “Bowling for Columbine.”

In case you missed the actual event, as I did, his remarks were re-shown about 33 billion times on TV and twice that in print. Then came the very serious responses. There were patriotic and mostly vitriolic commentaries in the weekly magazines, the daily papers and, of course, from the tube. Moore was denounced as un-American, unpatriotic and ungrateful for starters, treasonous, traitorous and treacherous for enders. America was seriously upset.

What didn’t make it into the mass of media was Moore’s considered response. I found it only in the March 27 edition of the Los Angeles Times. There, he tells a surprising story that explains his outrageous actions on Oscar night.

 Mr. Moore blames his Roman Catholic priest. Well, not blames really, but certainly holds him somewhat responsible. You see, Michael made the mistake of attending church on the morning of the Oscars, and there he fell under the influence of some diabolical teachings from someone else who was once branded a traitor as well.

During the Mass, Moore mused on some of the doctrine he had been taught over the years from his religious teachers, thoughts concerning the killing of innocent people and the misuse of violence.

He even remembered how the pope himself had, only days before, announced to all Catholics that the impending war in Iraq was not a “just war” and thus a sin committed by those who perpetrated it. 

He pondered, as well, the lengthy tradition within the church of speaking “truth to power” and of his own Christian responsibility to work for nonviolent resolutions to violence-prone problems.

Certainly, little of this will excuse his behavior for most of his critics, but I have to point out that Jesus’ behavior wasn’t much appreciated, either.

Here is some of what Moore wrote: “Was it appropriate? To me, the inappropriate thing would have been to say nothing at all or to thank my agent, my lawyer and the designer who dressed me – Sears Roebuck. I made a movie about the American desire to use violence both at home and around the world. My remarks were in keeping with exactly what my film was about. If I had a movie about birds or insects, I would have talked about birds or insects. I made a movie about guns and Americans’ tradition of using them against the world and each other.

And, as I walked up to the stage, I was still thinking about the lessons that morning at Mass. About how silence, when you observe wrongs being committed, is the same as committing those wrongs yourself. And so I followed my conscience and my heart.”

I suspect those of you who read this column, uh S religiously, can guess my own sentiments regarding Mr. Moore and his Oscar. But more than affirming his insights, I take great, albeit sinfully selfish, pleasure in something else – he took his preacher seriously.

Columnist Rich Mayfield appears Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. He, too, is an award winner, taking second place in column writing at the recent Colorado Press Association awards.

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